Where the Dead Sleep

A Novel

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Pub Date 15 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 03 Jan 2024

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“With Where the Dead Sleep, Joshua Moehling solidifies his place as one of the best new voices in the mystery genre." —William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author

A small town's dark secrets turn deadly...

When an early morning call brings Deputy Ben Packard to the scene of a home invasion, he finds Bill Sandersen shot in his bed. Bill was a well-liked local who chased easy money his whole life, leaving bad debts and broken hearts in his wake. Everyone Packard talks to has a story about Bill, but no one has a clear motive for wanting him dead. The business partner. The ex-wife. The current wife. The high-stakes poker buddies. Any of them—or none of them—could be guilty.

With a mile-long list of suspects but no clear motive, Packard digs into the investigation to find himself center stage and a half step behind in a town where no one ever left. There's a hidden history to Sandy Lake that Packard, ever the outsider can't see. Here, bad blood and old secrets run deep. He’ll have to solve a high-profile murder and, as a gay man, offer up his private life for public scrutiny in a county election to keep his job. 

An attempt on Packard's life means he's getting uncomfortably close to the dangerous legacy of the quiet Minnesota town. And someone will do anything to keep it hidden.

“With Where the Dead Sleep, Joshua Moehling solidifies his place as one of the best new voices in the mystery genre." —William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author

A small town's dark...

Advance Praise

"Small town secrets have never been so deadly in this compelling thriller featuring my new favorite deputy, Ben Packard. The plot will grab you, the characters keep you coming back for more." —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of One Step Too Far 

 “In Where the Dead Sleep, Joshua Moehling continues the compelling journey of tough as nails and conflicted Deputy Ben Packard as he patrols his old stomping grounds of Sandy Lake, Minnesota. Exploding with secrets, this novel has everything you want in a riveting mystery: a brutal crime, fast-paced action, expertly drawn characters that thrust the story from the page, and a jaw-dropping ending that you won’t see coming. Looking for a new favorite hero to root for? You’ve found him in Moehling’s Ben Packard.” —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Overnight Guest

With Where the Dead Sleep, Joshua Moehling solidifies his place as one of the best new voices in the mystery genre. Moehling nails the spirit of small-town life in Minnesota’s unique North Country. His understanding of the darkness that can haunt the human spirit twists his story in wonderfully unpredictable ways. Fans of Walt Longmire or Joe Pickett or my own Cork O’Connor have reason to celebrate and look forward to a long life for Moehling’s series and its fresh, vibrant protagonist Ben Packard.”—William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author of the Cork O’Connor series

Observant and authentic (and funny, too), Where the Dead Sleep is a perfect mystery, the literary descendant of Fargo and Mare of Easttown and an exploration of all the nooks and shadows that make Sandy Lake, MN an ideal place to spend a summer and a chilling place to pass a winter. I’d highly recommended it to every fan of crime fiction, but especially those reading in a lake house just after sunset.”—Adam White, bestselling author of The Midcoast

Evocative and charming with a deadpan wit, Joshua Moehling's Where the Dead Sleep is a richly satisfying mystery with fully-drawn characters—especially the winning and deeply human protagonist, Sheriff Ben Packard. Joshua Moehling's skill as a writer and storyteller is evident on every page. I can't wait to read the next installment in this excellent series!"
—Nick Petrie, bestselling author of The Runaway

"Joshua Moehling has quickly become one of my favorite must-read authors and Where the Dead Sleep shows exactly why. The characters are rich, and the small-town setting, where everyone has a secret and everyone is a potential suspect or victim, is brought vividly to life. This is a suspenseful, gut-wrenching page-turner of the highest order. Not to be missed!"
— David Bell, New York Times bestselling author of Try Not to Breathe and She's Gone

"When a diabolically wealthy family pits themselves against each other, it's hard to know who to believe, unless you’re Deputy Benjamin Packard. Josh Moehling lays out a deliciously complex plot and turns sleepy Sandy Lake into anything but."
—John McMahon, author of The Good Detective

"Small town secrets have never been so deadly in this compelling thriller featuring my new favorite deputy, Ben Packard. The plot will grab you, the characters keep you coming back for more." ...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781728247922
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 356 members

Featured Reviews

4.5 stars

First off I want to say that I read And There He Kept Her by Joshua Moehling, and that was one of my favorite books of 2022. This book was a great follow up. I absolutely love Packard as a main character and I’m so happy to see this becoming a series. Moehling’s first book was more on the mystery thriller side where as this one felt like more of a who done it mystery. It was very engrossing and the mystery was solid. I hinestky can’t wait for the next one!

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Another excellent read by Joshua Moehling. Great multidimensional protagonist ego continues to reveal more of himself in his second outing.
Really looking forward to the third book in this series.

Highly recommend.

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A huge thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for allowing me to receive an ARC of this book. This is the second book in the Detective Ben Packard series. This book has everything a good thriller has family drama, infidelity, gambling, politics and of course, murder. Det. Packard is called out bright and early on Sunday morning of Labor Day weekend to investigate the murder of Bill Sandersen. During his investigation, he learns that there are many people who dislike Bill including his wife and ex-wife, who just happened to be sisters! This book had me guessing until the very end. I liked how the author added in details of the investigation that may or may not be related to Bill's murder. The ending was perfect and left two mysteries open for additional books in the series. I am curious about Mr. Jim Henkel who is a science fiction writer mentioned in both books of the series. He has not been involved in the action but I hope the writer includes him in the next book. This is a splentacular read and I highly recommend!

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I read Joshua Moehling’s first novel, “And There He Kept Her” and I was so enamored with the central character Ben Packard, a guy worth rooting for, that I mentioned that Ben deserved a series. I got my wish!

Ben is the likable acting sheriff of Sandy Lake County, an otherwise sleepy place with an underlying mystery. He’s a gay man, but that’s his private business. He gets called out on the shooting murder of a well-known local (and apparent asshole) who had married ex-wife’s sister after he bled the first one dry. It seems a lot of people might have wanted the guy dead.

It’s a steady procedural, unfolding as Ben does the interviewing of acquaintances and follows up leads, while intensely observing each accompanying scene. If you’re like me, I really love these types of police novels, especially when the central character is someone you trust and someone you’d like to know better. Ben also gets caught up in the decision and drama of whether to permanently run for the Sheriff’s office when his boss dies of cancer.

I loved this sequel and I want more of Ben Packard (especially when there’s unfinished sheriff’s department business). It was great to see Ben grow within his community and expand his circle of friends. 5 stars!

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!

Literary Pet Peeve Checklist:
Green Eyes (only 2% of the real world, yet it seems like 90% of all fictional females): None this time (there was the requisite girl with green eyes in the first book of the series).
Horticultural Faux Pas (plants out of season or growing zones, like daffodils in autumn or bougainvillea in Alaska): None noted. Packard does need to prune his red twig dogwoods so his nosy neighbor can see more.

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There are more and more fantastic mystery books with gay detectives. Andy Mills (Lavender House) and Scott Jericho (Killing Jericho), for example. And Joshua Moehling created the wonderful Ben Packard.

Where the Dead Sleep is the second installment in the Ben Packard series, but I hadn’t read the first book when I dove into Where the Dead Sleep. I immediately found out that it’s also easily readable as a stand-alone. I really got invested in the mystery, but the highlight of the book is Ben Packard himself. Amiable and private, Ben is a man I desperately want to know better. He is a very layered character, and Joshua threw some snippets around about Ben’s past that immediately made me want to start reading And There He Kept Her, the first book in this series.

And, of course, I’m also going to pick up the third book because, despite the solved mystery, there is still so much to learn about Ben. I’m ready to pull off his next layer!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read mysteries but, above all, wants to connect to a main character even more.

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Could not put this book down. Thrilling, engaging, full of twists and turns. Great characters, some good funny moments, some good emotional moments. Big city detective investigating a small town murder, everything I wanted and more just from that description alone.

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This is the second Joshua Moehling book I’ve read and it’s another 5 star read. I can now say 100% that this is a new favorite and auto buy author for me! His writing flows perfectly, and his stories are not only realistic but unpredictable.

This is the second book featuring detective Packard. Packard is an exceptional sheriff, that not only is smart, handsome and likeable! Where The Dead Sleep is an
addictive mystery with not only shady characters but an ending that will leave you anxiously awaiting the next book!

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I received a free ebook ARC from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is book 2 with acting Sheriff Ben Packard and I was so excited to get my hands on this sequel because I was impressed by the authors debut thriller. Packard is investigating a murder where the family has a sorted history in his town of Sandy Lake, Minnesota. The husband is murdered in his bed and the spouse is always the main suspect. Towns love to gossip and news travels fast, but Packard is good at investigating all the important details logically.

I was very much drawn into this story and flipped pages quickly. The criminal aspects Packard is investigating are alluring, the way the story unfolds in captivating, and the reality of the stress detailed of Packard as a gay acting Sheriff are portrayed well. The ending makes me absolutely want to read the next book as I’m fully invested in Packard and him unraveling his own family history in Sandy Lake.

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Josh Moehling has completed his second Sandy Lake mystery and somehow, it is even better than the first. Bill Sandersen is found shot in his bed by his wife with no apparent robbery, attempt to kill the wife or an obvious motive. Acting Sheriff Packard follows the evidence’s winding dark path of gambling, family history, and of course betrayal.
I am not the best review writer, I tend to review with my heart. That being said, READ THIS BOOK!!! I have read a lot of suspense/thriller and procedural novels. This book is full to the brim of realism. I feel like I am reading Ben Packard’s diary and we get to process a lot of emotions through his day to day life. His banter between himself and Kelly constantly makes me laugh. I also feel that Moehling does something that is so important and that is to include minorities, LGBTQ+, and social issues that we all experience, in a way that is truthful and honest. If you are like me and enjoy an honest portrait of a human, this is your novel.

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I received this book from Poisoned Pen Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This statement is always true. I’m not given compensation to discuss a book and I’m not told how to rate a book. I am given a book in exchange for my opinions on it, and I am truthful in all my reviews whether I loved them or not.

I read this book in one sitting (well, except to stop and make dinner). Almost 9 hours. First, I'm going to say that I need to read Ben Packard #1 "And There He Kept Her". I loved the 2nd book and there are small references to the first Ben Packard book, so I definitely need to pick that one up.

I loved how real the detective work sound, I loved the camaraderie and politics of the sheriffs office and the citizens, the mud slinging, all at the same time while juggling his personal life, trying to solve murders, and standing in as deputy sheriff. This book has it all. Mystery, suspense, murder, blackmail. Accusation after accusation, and just when all the evidence points one way.... the plot twists, then twists again, and again. I would definitely say very typical of a small town (as the one I live in). I do not think that there is any room for improvement. Mr. Moehling was on target with this book.

You think you know what the secrets are and who killed who. But with all the plot twists and all the characters who are out to get each other by any means necessary, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. If I say anymore, I would spoil it. My advice, pre-order it as soon as you can. When you receive it, grab a cup of coffee, a snack, and be prepared to not put this book down.

Thank you Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to ARC this book.

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Thank you NetGalley for this digital free ARC. This is a true page-turner that keeps you hooked and hard to put down. The characters and well developed and you truly want to know what’s going to happen to them. I love the Ben Packard series! The series is one of my go-to series to recommend to patrons when they come in looking for a well written mystery. This series is amazing and so well written, I can’t wait for the next one. I love the cover and recommend this book and series to all.

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Joshua Moehling did it again! The complexity of his main character Packard, is superb. Classic who done it with a psychological, pulse pounding flair. Fans of the first book will love the second in the series.

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Loved it. Packard is a great character and this is a wonderful follow up to And There He Kept Her, which I also loved. This has the makings of a very enjoyable series. Moehling is a must-read for me now.

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Joshua Moehling has become one of my favorite mystery writers. He pulled me in with And There He Kept Her and kept me with Where the Dead Sleep. So many twists and secrets between the victim, Bill Sandersen, his wife Carrie, his ex-wife (and Carrie's sister Sherri, and the women's mother Mary. If you like, S A Cosby, Walking tall's Buford Pusser or are just a fan of crime novels, read this book. I love Ben Packard and can't wait to see what happens next.

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Well, well, well. Joshue Moehling knocks it out of the park - AGAIN!

When the first Ben Packard novel, 'And There He Kept Her', was released, I had no idea what I was getting into. I requested it on NetGalley and hoped for the best. When Poisoned Pen sent me an ARC, I was excited to have a novel to read over the next few days - and then I read it all in one sitting.

The same happened with 'Where the Dead Sleep', the second installment in Ben's fascinating story. I jumped at the chance to request it on NetGalley and then, when it was sent to me (thank you Poisoned Pen - I love you), found myself pacing the floor for hours as I devoured it.

I wish I could pinpoint exactly what pulls the reader into this all encompassing story. Is it the small town vibes with residents as rich as its history? Is it our charming main character, Ben Packard, navigating life as a gay, small town cop, who just so happens to be harboring a dark secret about his history with Sandy Lake? Is it Ben's dog, Frank? (Absolutely). Or is it the murder mystery of it all that has the reader questioning every little tidbit of information on the pages? Likely, it's a little bit of all of the above.

I can't give enough praise to Moehling for writing this astonishingly compelling novel. I used to think my murder mystery days were done, and then I picked up a Joshua Moehling book. I am so serious when I say every thriller lover absolutely MUST read this series. 10/10, will be reading every installment of this series moving forward.

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I love Joshua Moehling!!!

I'm not usually a fan of series but I stumbled upon And There He Kept Her last year and loved it. The story totally sucked me in, I loved how authentic the procedural felt, and I absolutely loved Packard as the protagonist.

Jumping into Where the Dead Sleep a whole year later, I didn't expect to remember much (if anything) from the first in the series. I was shocked when Packard and Emmett Burr came tumbling back and was even more surprised about little details I remembered along the way. I loved that pieces of And There He Kept Her came back naturally - so often series spend the first chapter rehashing the last book and I generally find it tedious and poorly written. SO not the case here! So much so that I truly think you can read this as a standalone novel and still absolutely adore it.

Even more strange with a series, I think I actually liked Where the Dead Sleep MORE than the first book! The crime was super intriguing and I was totally sucked in to the family drama. I had NO idea how the pieces fit, who was guilty, or why Bill was murdered. It was really fun putting the puzzle together with Packard. Further, I truly enjoy the Sheriff's race. It's not often that politics interest me but Moehling presented the race in such a great way. I also appreciated that there was less focus on Packard's sexuality in a negative light - it really could have been the focus with the Sheriff's race but I thought it was classy that it wasn't.

Packard is just the best. He's so genuine, intelligent, and true to himself. You can tell he's just a hardworking, good human and we need more of that!

I listened to this novel on audio. I had also listened to the first one on audio and it was the same narrator. I think this fact is important because the narrator was partly what transported me back and helped trigger memories. She does a stellar job and it's safe to say I was totally hooked by page 1.

There's no doubt in my mind I'll keep following Packard's story and I can't wait for some of our questions to be answered!

Thank you to Poisoned Press, Libro.fm, MacMillan Audio, and NetGalley for the copy.

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I love this author and I love this series. I love that it takes place in northern Minnesota where I went to high school. I love that the main character is a gay outsider. I love how creative the plots get (the first book features a couple of high schoolers who break into an old man’s home to steal his meds and have broken into a truly horrific choice). But mostly I love how well Moehling writes. When so many mystery authors just phone it in, he writes like a writer. There is so much good description. There are so many interesting analogies and ways of phrasing things. It’s just well made.

There were things I didn’t care for as much in this book as the last but I don’t care. I’m committed to these characters and this story. I’m a ride or die reader of Joshua Moehling because I just plain enjoy what he does. I can’t wait till the third book and it had better not be the last in the series.

I read a digital advance copy of this book via NetGalley.

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